Bengali people are very fond of leafy vegetables. They eat various types of shak/saag (aka vegetable greens, leafy greens, leafy vegetables, green etc). There will always be a leafy vegetable based dish in their lunch menu. These are mostly healthy because these shak contain very less amount of calorie but full of minerals, vitamins & dietary fiber. Some leafy greens have significant amount of protein too. Though Bengali people eat various types of greens but these 25 leafy vegetables are most popular and widely available across the region (West Bengal & Bangladesh).
Most of these shak or saag are used to make stir fried dish or simple curry. If you are a Bengali then I believe you have definitely tried most of these leafy vegetables. Is it not true?
25 popular shak / saag (leafy vegetables) in West Bengal as well as Bangladesh
It is the most popular leafy vegetable not just in West Bengal & Bangladesh but also in whole India as well as whole world. Almost everybody like spinach (palak in Hindi) and palong shak ghonto (Bengali style spinach curry) is very popular dish in Bengal.
It is a strong flavorful leafy vegetable. Methi or fenugreek leaves are used to make aloo methi or methi begun bhaja.
|3|| Matar shak|
Young pea (matar) plants are considered as a leafy vegetable. It is a very popular winter shak/saag. It is used to make various delicious & healthy Bengali style dishes.
I love chickpea greens. Last year I grew some chickpea plants in container for its greens and I enjoyed homegrown fresh & organic leafy vegetable to make chickpea green stir fry.
There are two types of mustard (sorse) plants available, one has black seeds and another one has white seeds. Greens of both plants are edible. But greens whose seeds are black are slightly bitter in taste. Sorse shak bhaja, sorse shaker jhol etc are popular Bengali dishes.
Another popular winter leafy vegetable. Though nowadays villagers are more preferring this vegetable as compared with people living in urban area. do you like bathua (Chenopodium album) shak? It is very nutritious too.
Bottle gourd or lau is a popular vegetable across the India. But its young leaves & stem are considered as delicious & healthy leafy vegetable. It is very popular in West Bengal as well as Bangladesh. Lau shaker jhol, dal diye lau shak are popular dishes in this region.
Kumro or pumpkin is a popular & common vegetable across the world. It greens or young leaves & stems are edible too. Kumro patar pakoda, kumro shaker jhol etc are very common dishes in this region.
|9|| Fulkopi pata|
Fulkopi or cauliflower is a famous winter vegetable. But its leaves are also edible, not just edible but also very nutritious & many traditional dishes are prepared with those leaves. Fulkopi pata bata is one of such traditional dishes.
Leaves of radish (mulo) is used to make various dishes. I love these leaves too. That is why, this year I am growing red radish only for its leaves. Mulo shak bhaja, mulo shak curry etc are popular dishes.
|11|| Pui shak|
Okay, now lets see the summer vegetables. Malabar spinach (pui shak/poi saag) is my favorite summer leafy vegetable, ohh, jute leaves too. Anyway its leaves are big, thick & juicy. Sometimes only 7-8 leaves can be enough for making a dish. It is nutritious too.
Everybody like kochu shak in Bengal. Many people grow kochu (taro) plant at their backyard because it is easy to grow and it does not need any care. only 1-2 hours of sunlight is enough for this plant.
Jute leaves are very popular leafy vegetable in this region. It is used to make curry, pakoda etc. It is also very easy to grow at backyard garden or in pots. Did you ever try paat shaker jhol? It is really awesome.
Thankuni pata or Indian pennywort or gotu kola leaves are used to make juice, shukto etc. These plants are grown very easily in this region. It spread very rapid on the ground.
|15|| Kulekhara shak|
I do not know whether it is used as leafy vegetable anywhere else except West Bengal & Bangladesh. It is said that its juice helps to boost hemoglobin in blood. I like kulekhara curry too. Do you?
It is also known as water spinach. Kalmi shak is a healthy & delicious leafy vegetable. These plants are easy to grow. It spreads so rapidly over the wetland. Kalmi shak bhaja is a very popular dish.
|17|| Gima shak|
It is very uncommon leafy vegetable. But it is popular in this region. It is very bitter in taste. But still many people like it so much.
|18|| Brahmi shak|
This plant has tremendous medicinal value. It is also used to make various Ayurvedic medicines. But it is also used to make various traditional dishes. I like brahmi pakoda, begun brahmi bhaja etc.
Sojne or drumstick is a super food, infact the whole tree is also considered as miracle plant because its every part is useful & full of nutritional values. Its leaves are used as leafy vegetable.
Note shak, Amaranthus viridis is its scientific name. It is a popular leafy vegetable. It has significant amount of protein and various minerals & vitamins.
Data shak bhaja is most simple, healthy & delicious data shak based dish. Every bengali eat this leafy vegetable during summer. It is also used to make various other dishes. It stems are also used to make various Bengali style fish curry.
Many people eat those potato greens so regularly because they like it so much. I also tried it a few number of times. It is healthy & tasty. Many people also grow potato at their garden just for its fresh greens.
It is another kind of taro plant’s leaves. It is also used to make various traditional dishes. I love kharkol pata bata a lot. I think many others too. Is it not?
These leafy vegetable grows here & there in villages in this region. Many people go neighborhood to pick fresh shushni saag from the ground. I do not think it is commercially cultivated. But this leafy vegetable is easily available at many vegetable markets.
It is super bitter in taste. It leaves & seeds are used to make insecticide. But its leaves are edible and full of medicinal values. I like neem begun during early to mid summer days.
Apart from these leafy vegetables, there are some leafy greens which are often used as herbs or spices in Bengali cuisine like dhania pata (coriander leaves), pudina pata (mint leaves) etc.
So which one is your favorite shak or saag? Do you know any other leafy vegetable which is not in this list? Is there any?